Post below your comments about Grace Modeling Agency. You may post experiences you have had with this agency, as a model, applicant, student, or otherwise. Pros and Cons are welcome.

9 Responses to “Grace Modeling Agency (9)”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    It began with a Plurker calling herself LillyAnn, who projected an image of sweetness and light, punctuated with occasional vague references to difficult circumstances in her life. Her bio states she is “Lilly Calandrello, personal growth expert, MS, MA, Ph.D, is a relationship, marriage, family therapist, motivational & inspirational speaker, spiritual intuitive counselor, and author”. It does not list links to her various websites, however from time to time she would post links to recent posts on her StumbleUpon blog, many of which are also featured on her business website, Whispy.com, a portal which offers a wide variety of spiritual and psychic services. The blog and the business site both feature many lengthy inspirational articles, some of which were copied and pasted, word for word, from their original authors. No one suspected any of this until Lilly Ann, aka Barbara Calandrello, made a desperate appeal to her social media friends for financial assistance with life-threatening medical conditions for which she was uninsured and being denied treatment until she could pay. Someone claiming to be her 17 year old daughter, Gabrielle, posted using her accounts on Plurk and Twitter with an urgent appeal for donations, which were accepted through her PayPal account. Gabrielle then (claiming someone helped her) set up a ChipIn account, which was promoted on Digg and StumbleUpon by Lilly’s very close friend, DaveJazzHound. They collected a little more than $350 on the ChipIn page, and a number of PayPal donations including at least two for $100.

    We may never know why someone who (by her own claims on Google Groups) was pulling in $5,000/month via counseling fees, affiliate marketing programs, and essays posted to paying websites such as Squidoo, would risk it all in a scheme that only raised a few hundred dollars. Her image as a successful professional advisor with lucrative hobbies like raising sea horses was in direct contradiction with this sudden, urgent need for cash, and this is one of the reasons it took several days for the questioning to begin. No one wanted to think that LillyBarb, whose online persona was always warm and supportive, brave and kind, would deceive her friends for money. By the second day, the threads on her Plurk profile were still overwhelmingly concerned and gracious towards her plight, but at least one person came out and said that she would love to send flowers, and where should these go? There was, of course, no answer to this, but it sparked a private discussion that lasted until three in the morning, during which a long list of contradictory information came to light.

    By morning of the third day, there had been one thread deleted, and the remaining thread had shifted in focus from kindness and worry, to doubt and frustration. I was at this point in possession of a growing list of disturbing information, but to be honest I did not want to be “that person”. I did not have the luxury, as Becky did in her initial posts about Kaycee, to make pointed but nameless references and know that people in the know would recognize what I was talking about – the social media world has grown by several orders of magnitude since those days. I waited to see if anyone else would take up the task of summarizing and archiving the information, but by the end of day three I knew I had to do something.

    So I did, but I did it in the most apologetic tone, practically falling over myself saying I was being a horrible mean awful cynical bitch and I was probably wrong but here’s the information anyway. Like the first person to suggest Kaycee was a fraud, I came forward with information I felt needed to be shared, but you can see in both cases, these posts were made cringing and bracing for attack. No one wants to step up and accuse someone of committing fraud, only to discover one has just kicked the poor sick person while they were down. In fact this trait is one of the main reasons people will always use these kinds of heart-tugging stories, because they know it’s really difficult to be “that person”.

    In the days that followed, the evidence built up. More and more instances of plagiarism came to light, along more and more conflicts in the stories we’d been told. LillyBarb’s daughter Gabrielle, who had been very active in the early stages of the discussion, stopped responding to the posts. This 17 year old girl claimed she wasn’t allowed on the social networks, but knew how to navigate them with uncanny skill for a newbie, and knew when to fold up shop when the consensus had turned against her. At this writing the pretense is still active on StumbleUpon, and all of the plagiarized content is still up on the commerce-based websites. Apparently the scam is still far from over in spite of the little teapot tempest we’ve had about it over on Plurk. The energy to pursue this fraud has dissipated a little, and the truth is that the amounts involved are probably not enough to compel a criminal investigation. The story is still developing, but there is nowhere near the intensity directed at it than there was towards the far more high profile Kaycee Nicole case. And let’s face it, the level of fraud and malice necessary to catch the attention of the federal authorities is significantly more than what we’ve seen so far with LillyBarb.

    So, if the feds aren’t going to protect you from imaginary dying teenagers and psychic kidney patients, who is? Well, you certainly cannot count on the crowd wisdom in social media, as we’ve seen this is very much subject to the fears of individuals to speak out against tragic figures and risk being wrong. The common theme of “I thought there was something wrong about this but I didn’t want to say anything” repeats over and over in these discussions, telling us that the majority would prefer to hold their suspicions waiting for someoene else to speak up. And we know that it feels good to be generous, to give back to the world when we are fortunate enough to be in that position. Psychologically, this creates an atmosphere in which it is very easy to be deceived. Even the short-lived LillyBarb fundraising drive caught a lot of very kind-hearted, generous people before anyone said a word against it. The only protection you really have is yourself.

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  2. Disbeliver Says:

    Well well well, her we are into 2010 and I think we can safely say Grace Modeling is a scam as has been posted. For a year now all that has been said is any day now GMA will resume. Time tells all tales, it is not what you say, it is what you do, that reveals the truth of you

  3. Pansy Peccable Says:

    I was asked to, and thought I should write something here that is at least a bit positive, and hopefully encouraging. But suffice it to say, if something sounds too good to be true, it almost always is.

    My modeling career was launched one day when I was watching SLcn.tv in-world. While testing the in-world telly, a fashion show came on. I can remember this like it was yesterday. All these svelte models came out, looking graceful and for all the world performing a show as hot as any RL fashion show I’d ever seen.

    I turned to my partner and said, “Gee, I wish I could do that.” To which my partner replied, “Why don’t you?”

    And I thought, “Indeed, why don’t I?”

    That little shove was all I needed to get me looking into what it takes to be a successful model in Second Life.

    I beat the bushes and found out a few things. For one, there is no such thing as a “model look” in Second Life. Don’t ever let let anyone tell you that you don’t have the look to be a model. SL modeling is all about developing a style of your own, and then showing that style at its best.

    Also, at least for me, being a runway model took training and LOTs of practice. I spent big bucks (to me at the time) to get training from MODA Modeling School. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I struggled with runway. But I worked hard, and after untold hours, if you get me anywhere near a runway now I am automatically pulling up a pose and walk. I am so ready!

    Grace’s situation hasn’t hurt me much, but I was already an established model in Second Life. I have been working all this time, and my heart goes out to those of you who had your hopes pinned on a good outcome there. But don’t let anything stop you!

    We models aren’t going to get rich from modeling in SL. We do it for fun, the satisfaction of a dream, perhaps. And the more fun we have, the better we do what we do… sell designer’s clothes!

    If any of you are interested, I have a group called “Flavah!”, which is NOT an agency. The group is intended for designer’s, photographers, models, trainers, et al, to share information about one another’s needs.
    (For example, I need a runway photographer for this Saturday, so I can just put out a notice to the group).

    I hope some of this helps a little bit.

    Good luck to us all!

  4. Ariadne Barzane Says:

    My comments here have been given as an individual offering factual information on the promises made and broken by Grace Modeling Agency. I stand by those comments as a person regardless of my association with the agency. I was ejected from the agency for speaking my mind in this matter.

    Honesty and loyalty are both important factors in any relationship. There has been no shortage of either on my part. At this point continuing to string others along with false expectations and soothing them with an ignorance to the facts does them a disservice which is at best dishonest.

    As for the leader speaking, that would indeed be a change.

  5. Cora Heslop Says:

    And now, Ariadne no longer speaks for Grace Modeling..let the leader do that for themself, as they wish.

  6. Ariadne Barzane Says:

    Actions speak louder than words – Model trainees were chosen at the end of April with classes to begin in May/June…Promises made to designers for spring/summer shows….It is the middle of August and thus far no training has even been scheduled to begin…class content has not been finalized….Designers are seeking out others to fulfill the need to have their work showcased…1/3 of those chosen as model trainees have already left due to a lack of activity…IMs and notecards requesting information from the owner are not answered….Promises of the owner’s return and resumption of activities have been made since June….Yet here it is August and nothing beyond those promises have been heard…

    As I said at the beginning of this note – Actions speak louder than words….It is not an abuse of power or the trust put in me to state that this agency is not doing anything…It is more a statement of fact drawn from a desire to be honest with those who have put their trust in those of us who are still here ‘holding the bag’ so to speak…For those interested in modeling, this agency is not fulfilling that need…If you just like to have a modeling agency name in your group listing on your profile…this would be perfect for that!!!

  7. Cora Heslop Says:

    I would not listen to a well-meaning someone who’s abusing their position of trust and power to repeatedly smear this group for what..kicks?

  8. Ariadne Barzane Says:

    Nothing is happening with this agency. A lot of promises were made that have not been kept. People who were chosen as part of the modeling group have been left high and dry. If modeling is a dream, you should not count on this agency to help you bring it to life.


  9. [...] I would encourage everyone who has been involved in this disappointing relationship to log your feelings on the Agency Report website: http://agencyreport.wordpress.com/grace-modeling-agency/ [...]


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